Traveling Sailsman
See the world by sailing

Sailing in Phang Nga Bay and around the Similan Islands

Best diving and sailing on the Andaman side of Thailand

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Similan and Surin Islands

Some of the best sailing in Thailand is to be found off the Andaman Coast near the resort area of Khao Lak, and also in the impressive Phang-Nga Bay area. The first offers some spectacular diving opportunities, and the latter has some impressive scenery and destinations of cultural significance.

Just 70 km from the coast of Khao Lak is the world famous Similan Islands. It is a Mecca for divers, rated in the top 10 dive sites by the National Geographic magazine. It is an archipelago of islands stretching over 128 sq km. There are nine main islands that have names but are often referred to by divers by a number going from 1 to 9. Some of the most famous dive spots are ‘East of Eden’, ’Elephant Rock’, ‘North Point’ and ‘Deep Six’. There is a very varied underwater topography to enjoy ranging from mountain ranges to multi colored corals to impressive swim-throughs. There is an abundance of marine life to spot including sharks, mantas, turtles and moray eels. To the north (near Koh Kho Khao) are another set of islands called the Surin Islands. Here is the world famous Richelieu Rock where whale sharks (the largest fish) can be spotted.

There are few habited islands in either archipelago – only rangers and sea gypsies live in the area. It is thus important to bring plenty of supplies with you. There are enough dive spots off the Andaman coast to keep you busy for weeks!

Phang-Nga Bay

Below Khao Lak is Phuket Island. It is connected to the mainland by Sarasin Bridge. Phang-Nga Bay is surrounded by Krabi, Phuket and Phang-Nga Province. The usual point to enter the bay is via Ao Chalong, a bay area at the south end of Phuket.

Phang-Nga Bay has over 100 islands to explore. It is often called the Ha Long Bay of Thailand or the Guilin of Thailand. This reputation is due to the impressive limestone or karst mountains rising steeply from the sea.

The islands are great to sail around. There are plenty of places to throw anchor and spend a few hours on a deserted beach or exploring caves and grottos.

The best anchorage in the Koh Hong group of islands lies between Koh Hong and the shallow water to the west of Koh Na Khae. This beautiful anchorage spot has good holding in about 12 metres, and gives access to Koh Hong.

In the north of Phang-Nga Bay are the famous Khao Phing Kan and Koh Tapu. The island and karst rock were used for filming parts of the Bond movie, the Man with the Golden Gun. As a result it is also called ‘James Bond Island’.

Also in the vicinity is Koh Panyi or Floating Island. This is a series of homes on stilts joined together and attached to a small island. A separate group of Malay muslims inhabit the floating island. It is an impressive visiting the island and seeing how they have managed to make a floating community.

Yachtsmen can anchor nearly anywhere off the islands Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi in the north of the bay. Here the water is just 10 meters deep.

Some of Phang-Nga Bay is National Park. If you sail into the park the rangers may find you and charge you 200 Thai Baht per head as an entrance fee.

Check out the video below to get a feel for sailing in Phang-Nga Bay.

There are plenty of places to throw anchor and spend a few hours on a deserted beach or exploring caves and grottos.